Michael J. Heller is the chief executive officer of Cozen O'Connor. He serves on the firm's board of directors, management committee and heads the emerging business and venture capital practice. Michael approaches each situation with an entrepreneurial zeal, and his investing experience arms him with a unique ability to provide legal and business insight into a variety of complex corporate matters. He understands, first hand, the critical roles of modern executives.
Michael is a recognized leader in the representation of entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies and began his career as a young associate during the IPO craze of the late 1980s before joining Cozen O’Connor in 1994 as the firms first transactional lawyer. Since 2007, when Michael became chair of the business law group, he grew the department from 76 attorneys to 190, expanding both the client base and the diversity of the attorneys in the firm. An important element of Michael’s practice is making the necessary introductions to help clients raise capital and find joint venture partners and he is constantly relied upon for his business acumen and investment instincts. Michael is responsible for assisting clients in all industries and plays an active role from the formation and business planning stages to structuring and negotiating joint ventures and strategic alliances. He also represents venture capital funds and angel investor groups in all forms of equity and debt capital-raising transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and beyond.
Michael is a frequent speaker on venture capital and entrepreneurism in the Mid-Atlantic Region and is regularly quoted as a thought leader in local, regional, and national publications. He is Chambers-ranked for Corporate Law - M&A and private equity and has been named a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics.
Michael has significant personal business and investing experience, which differentiates him from his peers in the venture capital and private equity space. He is currently an owner of the Valley Forge Convention Center, which includes the Valley Forge Casino, and is actively involved in investments in real estate and other entrepreneurial businesses. Michael was an early investor and continues to be a principal owner of Beachbody, LLC, the creator of the popular fitness programs P90X and Insanity, and helped Beachbody raise the capital to grow that company to its current stature as the leading health and fitness direct marketing company in the country.
In addition to his personal investment experience, Michael is a member of the board of directors of three publicly registered funds, FS Investment Corporation I, FS Investment Corporation II and FS Energy and Power Fund, as well as Beachbody, LLC, Valley Forge Convention Center Partners GP, LLC, and Hanover Fire and Casualty Co. He also sits on several nonprofit boards, including Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pa. (BFTP), Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT), the Police Athletic League (PAL) and the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FCFE) of the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University.
Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Michael received his undergraduate degree in 1986, summa cum laude, from The Pennsylvania State University, and his law degree in 1989, magna cum laude, from Villanova University, where he was a law review editor and a member of the Order of the Coif.